Max Verstappen topped the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton finished second and Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez took third.
With the sun setting at the start of FP3, most drivers elected to emerge after 10 minutes for more representative conditions given qualifying will take place after the sun goes down.
Hamilton set the early pace on hard tyres but couldn’t improve on his fastest effort of 1m28.314s when it came to using softs. Meanwhile, Verstappen enjoyed his soft-tyred running and eclipsed his rival midway through the session, improving to set the ultimate benchmark of 1m28.100s and leave Hamilton two-tenths behind in P2.
Sergio Perez improved to third – 0.529s behind his team mate – with a late effort to demote Yuki Tsunoda to fourth for AlphaTauri. Tsunoda’s team mate Pierre Gasly managed fifth, but on medium tyres to the rookie’s softs.
Gasly suffered a scary near-miss with a slow-moving Hamilton later on in the session, fortunately avoiding contact.
That left soft-shod Valtteri Bottas in P6 for Mercedes, nine-tenths off P1.
FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2021
Practice 3 results
|1 MaxVERSTAPPENRed Bull Racing||1:28.100|
|3 SergioPEREZRed Bull Racing||+0.529s|